Deforestation Brings Hardship For Cambodia’s Wild Honeybee Hunters

As forests shrink, the hunt for honey takes hours of driving before arduous hikes and climbs.

Every morning at 5:30, Yang Phorn and some of his neighbors from a village west of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, climb on motorbikes to go honeybee hunting in a forest far from home.

Before the 47-year-old and the others set, they prepare bags of rice and other food and tie them to their motorbikes — enough provisions to keep them nourished for a long ride, followed by a trek deep into the forest of next-door Koh Kong province to hunt for honey-filled hives until 5 p.m. when they return home.

As he collected honeycombs full of beeswax in his baskets, Phorn said many families from Ampe Phnom, a poor village in Kampong Speu province, have hunted for bees for generations because it does not require any capital investment.

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